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Criminal Resource Manual

790. Appeal

Section 3731 of title 18 has been construed to permit appeals by the United States in criminal contempt actions where a district court enters what is tantamount to a dismissal of an indictment or an information. United States v. Sanders, 196 f.2d 895, 897 (10th Cir.), cert. denied, 344 U.S. 829 (1952).

The conviction in a criminal contempt action is a final judgment and is immediately appealable. It is the settled rule that an order which fines or imprisons the contemnor in a civil contempt proceeding is reviewable only on appeal from the final judgment of the main cause of action because a civil contempt proceeding is in effect a continuation of the main proceeding. Carbon Fuel Co. v. United Mine Workers, 517 F.2d 1348 (4th Cir. 1975). However, an order of confinement under 28 U.S.C. § 1826 for refusing without just cause to testify or produce other information in response to a court order is immediately appealable.

[cited in USAM 9-39.000]